Tokyo Skytree in Tokyo

Photo of Tokyo Skytree in Tokyo, Kanto
Image courtesy of Tobu Tower Sky Tree Company
Photo of Tokyo Skytree in Tokyo, Kanto
Image courtesy of Tobu Tower Sky Tree Company
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Tokyo Skytree
Also known as:Tokyo Sky Tree
Formerly:New Tokyo Tower

1- Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo Japan
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Text by Wayne Lorentz

Tokyo returned to the world's architectural stage in 2012 with this massive broadcasting tower. It rises above what was the Tobu Railway Company's rail yard in Sumida Ward. Discussions about a new broadcast tower took place for years, but it wasn't until 2006 that Tokyo's major broadcasting companies and the national broadcaster, NHK, agreed on this plan.

This tower carries antennae for Tokyo radio and television stations, which were formerly at the top of Tokyo Tower. However, Tokyo Tower eventually became surrounded by massive skyscrapers which caused mutltipath and other problems with radio signals. The new tower allows the broadcasters to locate their transmitters at a higher point to alleviate the congestion. As part of the move to the new tower, the broadcasters abandoned their analog facilities and moved to pure digital operation.

Unlike Tokyo Tower, the base of Tokyo Skytree is more than an expanse of asphalt with some scraggly gardens and minor amusement facilities. It is an entire urban working, shopping, transportation, and community center, right beneath the tower, helping better utilize the available space.

Of course, the real star of the show is the tower, itself. Rising from a triangular-shaped lobby with a large arch on each side, the core of the building is surrounded by a lattice work of structural steel. As the building rises, the core changes to a circular shape by the time it reaches the first observation level. The second level is 330 feet higher, but smaller. This is topped by the continuing steel cone and eventually a master television antenna.

Quick Facts
  • First observatory height: 1,148 feet
  • Second observatory height: 1,476 feet
  • June 10, 2008: The name of this building is changed from New Tokyo Tower to Tokyo Sky Tree.
  • July 14, 2008: Construction began.
  • April 6, 2009: The foundation was completed.
  • October 16, 2009: The planned height of this tower was increased to 634 meters.
  • November 10, 2009: Construction reached 650 feet.
  • February 29, 2012: Construction finished
  • May 22, 2012: This building opened to the public
  • Developer: Tobu Railway
  • This building was designed to be extra earthquake-resistant because it serves as a vital communications relay during disasters.
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Did You Know?
  • A triangular-shaped lobby was chosen because it has three sides -- the smallest number possible for a self-supporting structure. They also symbolize the confluence of the Sumida River, the Ara River, and the bustle of human traffic.
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Your Thoughts

There are 17 comments.

  March11, 2011 Great earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The image we saw on TV or read about it, those image were so horrible, devastating, and destroys every thing in that part of Japan. People like me who spend many years in Japan feel very sad. I always pray for Japan from my heart, soul, and my all affection are with this great Nation, very courageous People of Japan. i love Japan and I love Japanese. God Bless you All. é å¼µãæ¥æ¬

Naveed T Diwan - Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 @ 5:17pm  

  I lived in this lively city of Tokyo for 15 years. This would be great achievement for this City good addition of many Tokyo great icon structures. I wish will visit this marvels structure soon as it complete.

Naveed Diwan - Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 @ 3:05pm  

   What a great new landmark for Tokyo. A perfect companion for Tokyo Tower. I used the new tower to get my bearings on this amazing city.

Sami Linno - Friday, December 10th, 2010 @ 2:51pm  

   Congratulations for reaching 500 meters to all the engineers, crane operators, teamsters, rod busters, concrete workers and iron workers!I love this tower and affectionately call it MY TOKYO SKY TREE!

jason smith - Friday, December 3rd, 2010 @ 1:29pm  

  Tadao Ando and any great architect is to be praised for taking a landmark like the former Tokyo Tower (Original architect Tachu Naito) to greater heights and towards a greater future!The Best is yet to come!!We welcome July 2011.

Edy Stone - Sunday, January 10th, 2010 @ 12:10am  

  I have resided in Sumida ward for over 18 years. Tokyo Sky Tower is a wlcome addition adding a contrast to the old town of Asakusa, just across the Sumida River. They have extended the height by 24 meters to beat the height of a tower now under construction in China. I worked on a dam as a young man that was not even 500 feet tall. Gotta respect those construction workers on this job, the Tokyo Sky tree!

Jason Smith - Monday, November 16th, 2009 @ 1:40am  

  Excellent. At last something new for Godzilla to destroy.

Paul Diamond - Saturday, October 17th, 2009 @ 10:40pm  

  Trying to replace the Tokyo Tower with a taller structure is like trying to replace the Empire State or Chrysler Buildings in New York. They achieved icon status not just because off their size, but also because of their design, despite "new", taller structures. This new tower looks like an erector set on steroids, and doesn't say "TOKYO, JAPAN" to me--it could be built anywhere.

Bruce M. - Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 @ 3:47pm  

  While I do enjoy the futuristic heading and the forethought put into both the design and uses, I cannot say that I will not miss the classical, almost symbolic, figure that is the Tokyo Tower today.

Megan Hoteling - Thursday, September 25th, 2008 @ 6:10pm  

  A spectacular tower.And more beautiful than existing Tokyo Tower.I hope it will have a sky lobby, open for public.

Marc - Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 @ 6:39am  

  Very elegant and futuristic, it boasts japans enormous grip on technology.

Animator - Sunday, April 15th, 2007 @ 9:42pm  

  I like the height of the new tokyo tower it is interesting...

eske - Sunday, March 25th, 2007 @ 1:50pm  

  very stilish and looks powerfull.

alexanderi premja - Tuesday, March 6th, 2007 @ 1:43pm  

  It kinda reminds me of seattle

Kyoko Hikarui - Thursday, February 22nd, 2007 @ 9:59am